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TIE (Tanzania Institute of Education)
Easy Ways to Teach Counting for Pupils
Educators typically begin teaching counting concepts to kids in kindergarten and first grade, but you can begin teaching your child math skills earlier. The skills you teach your child can serve as a foundation the child can draw upon when teachers introduce math concepts in kindergarten.
Teaching children to count can be fun and easy by using simple strategies that will help your child develop a fondness for numbers.
1. Junk Box Counting
I used dry erase boards as a counting “mat” for children to place their counters on. I wrote a numeral on each child’s dry erase board, then had them identify the numeral, and count out that amount of counters on their board. After I checked their work, they could erase the number and I wrote a new number on their board. Each child was able to work at their own pace and at their own level of ability. Some children were working on numbers 1-5 while others were counting beyond 10.
A variety of interesting materials can be collected for math counters. Some ideas are plastic lizards or bugs from the dollar store, plastic jewels, small foamie shapes, keys, seashells.
2. A tower to build, blocks to count
Deposit a bin filled with Lego or Duplo blocks on the floor and invite each child to take "1" block. Next, encourage them to take a second block and place it on top of the first one. Count the number of blocks each child's tower contains. Continue this activity until each child's tower contains ten or more blocks, depending on their age. Once the maximum number of blocks is reached, let children take their tower apart, one block at a time, counting them as they work. With very young children, use plastic cubes and simply help them stack the cubes while counting them together. Keep going until their tower falls down. They will surely want to start over again and again!
3. Dotted Cards
Dotted cards are made with index cards and coloured dot stickers. I made a card for each number 1-10, with the numeral written beside the dots. Children count aloud verbally as they place each math counter on each dot. They use these when they are beginning to learn counting to help them place the correct amount of math counters on the card.
4. Fruit Counting
I put sticker dots on disposable plastic plates and covered the middle with clear contact paper. Each plate has a different amount of dots. Children count the dots on the plate, say the number, then count out that amount of fruit to place on the plate. Any type of counters can be used if fruit counters are not available. These are similar to the dotted cards above, except that I did not write the numeral beside the dots because in this game, the objective was counting and one-to-one correspondence only, rather than identifying the numeral.
5. Counting coins
Purchase a cute piggybank that is sure to attract children's attention as well as a large quantity of colourful coins. Make sure the coins can easily be inserted in the piggybank's opening. Let children take turns depositing one, two, or three coins in the piggybank while counting them. Once the piggybank is full, shake it until it is empty and start all over again! Children adore this very simple activity. You may choose to use several different piggybanks or even make your own. Simply decorate a metal coffee can and cut a slit in the lid. If you decide to make your own piggybank, decorate it with adhesive numbers!